Anneline Keet, Lourie Terblanche


Mental health conditions such as stress, depression, substance abuse and relational problems are major contributors to sickness, absenteeism and lower job performance (Nissly & Mennen, 2002). Steward, Ricci, Chee, Hahn and Morganstein (2003) indicate that employees with depressive disorders present with almost four times more health-related lost productivity than those without depressive symptoms. This amounts to 5.6 hours per week lost by employees with depressive disorders in comparison with 1.5 hours lost by employees who do not suffer from these disorders, costing the United States economy up to $44 billion per year. Steele (2002) maintains that workdays lost because of substance abuse alone cost the US economy $5 billion dollars a year. In South Africa the Bytes Technology Group conducted a study (Bytes, 2011) indicating that local companies lose between R12 to R20 billion a year to absenteeism. An article in Rapport Loopbane (2 July 2006) also indicated that the cost of absenteeism for the South African economy was estimated at R20 billion for that year. It is unlikely that statistics have changed significantly over the last five years and the country continues to lose revenue through employee absenteeism.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15270/49-2-63


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